Dance Macabre!

by Tarek Hassan
Friday, June 13, 2003

Absurd theatre of the absurd:"at the postmortem of a friend"

(for Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal)

Act the first
theatre of the absurd
what more absurd than this?


the protagonists are racing along the shores of Loch Lomond screaming with joy
ecstatic with infinite expectation
the scene is all promise
the audience vibrates with anticipation

my friend is nowhere
the protagonists disappear
they say: he is suddenly
in the hereafter out of time
they say “the experts say” a freak accident
the PM confirms: should never have happened a freak thing!
he should be alive in the here and now

I minister over the post mortem
it is the law they say, it is my shift and it was a freak accident,
my heart is thumping
it is about to pierce my rib cage!
can I escape this dread reality
pretend it all a lie?
I dutifully descend into this cave of hell

Act the second

the underworld is cold but crowded

in the crowded aloofness when lovers kissed
in the contorted bed when sheets stuck together with pus

in the huge cave when the head was sawn down to the brain
when the world looked and laughed unseen

when the dead man screamed and tore his heart

when the old woman's eye begging for a straw
got nothing but a howling of cold air from the conditioners and refrigirators

in that noisy emptiness full of hidden screams

full of untold history of stories and poetry suppressed,

there flew ghost kisses of lovers unborn
stillborn by games of custom

smothered in the womb

oh monstrous kindness
of all this fanfare
left now is the grey jelly smelling of fish


when the brain was exposed and the iron teeth cut deep into the sacred vault

when the heart was cured in antiseptic but still ached and more

the old woman's dust spoke the anger and was swept
nothing naught nothing
nothing nothing nothing

nothing murmured the turbulence in the bone
nothing being nothing
nothing will be the same again

Act the third
all the King’s men.. all the sound and fury..
the fanfare this time fails to stir


Mozart and Osiris and the impossible art of multicolored peace
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